Unit 2, Session 10, Class 21. Opposite Action (OA).
Updated: Jan 12
As part of this week's DBT ramble thing I will not do the scrappy notes write up but instead write about my thoughts on this OA lesson and discussion, briefly.
Learning about OA skills is the easy bit. The lesson was very interesting and indeed hit upon raw nerves. Close to home.
Anyone without BPD emotional difficulties looking in from the outside will probably shake their heads in bewilderment as to why we are learning about such basic life skills. Understandably if you don't have or understand emotional skills deficit issues, you're going to scratch your head.
Emotional skills deficit though is exactly part of the SNAFU I'v been dealing with and do deal with in life. Everyday. And it sucks. Its made life for me and those close to me, around me, fucking miserable. Hellish at times.
Learning about and really getting to grips with skills that help regulate my emotional cluster fuck is turning out to be a God send (and I don't believe in a God!).
OA skills is another go to tool in my arsenal of emotional regulation tools. Obvious to any emotionaly healthy person out there but sadly lacking in my life skills set.
Around 2013, 14 onwards I got very ill psychologically again and this time in a very very destructive abusive horrid BPD way. Not just the hideous black bastard of a demon that is crippling depression but this time, I became very brutally angry, my thoughts became skewed and twisted, I had intrusive thoughts tantamount to psychosis. Indeed I had psychotic moments. Blackouts. Memory loss. Paranoid moments. Unstoppable anxiety. And all the dark twisted manipulative traits that are associated with BPD, desperately trying to cling on to those around me, fearing they would leave me. They did. I understand why too. Sadly part of my condition was uncontrollable rage. White hot rage. Angry at my illness, angry at my past, angry at those people who couldn't understand me or offer me empathy and mainly angry at myself I was fucked. Totally fucked.
I can never ever go there again and hurt myself and hurt and loose people I love.
I am determined now, at the healthier, happier, more resilient place I am in, largely thanks to DBT and my family finally stepping up to help me heal the wounds of the past that I can heal and grow and become the better version of myself to ensure it never does.
OA skills and practicing OA skills is going to be and is absolutely essential, key, to my healing, recovery and sustained emotional health. Emotional health is my holy grail and the only way I can ensure I never fuck myself or others up again.
OA skills takes disciplined daily practice and really really takes alot out of me. I have to me mindful all the time and I have to swallow my pride and really really work against my horrid angry moments, my temper, my negative thought patterns, the self shame schemas, the self hatred, the cynical judgments of self and others, all the deeply ingrained shame informed ideas about myself and life that became hardwired.
OA takes disciplined practice. Like learning a martial art. It really is the same principle.
This session really gets to the crux in terms of behavioural problems I display when my amygdala is triggered and what and how I need to mindfully challenge it and reprogram it.
In brief, the things I need to challenge through OA skills practice are pretty much everyday things that to emotionally healthy people are not even negligible matters but to me are indeed, huge obstacles. Fear based obstacles in my head that I often opt to avoid and not climb in order to avoid horrid mental pain.
The only way to realistcly challenge and change this fucked up mind set is to retrain my mind and rewire those faulty neuro path ways. Practice OA and face those fears, those anxieties and face up to the challenges and climb those obstacles. All through mindful DBT skills and over all OA practice. No pain, no gain.
I have in fact been through this OA phase of challenging mental health SNAFU before and overcome alot. I'v climbed mountains of mental obstacles and overcome them. Hideous stuff.
This time, after these last few years of hell, I'm doing it with far more insight, mindfulness, willingness and maturity.
I want to challenge my own fucked up schemas, fears, judgements, bad habits and treat people better and treat myself better, now that I fully understand how and why childhood and adult trauma has affected me.
I have began this OA practice by:
Not avoiding appointments because of anxiety. Turn up. Ride the anx', surf the urge, get there and feel proud that I did.
Same as above but in social circumstances. Turn up. Treat friends with more love and respect and not confuse the fuck out of them.
Not avoid events, socials, gym etc. Get going, attend and not trick myself out of potential joy and happiness.
Challenge my creative blocks, fears due to lack of confidence. Get creative, fuck the judgements and fuck my parents for zero nurturing of any confidence in the past. Just do it.
Challenge the intense negative emotions that crop up when triggered by practicing OA skills. Do the opposite. Rewire the urges. Negate the fucking crazy destructive kick Offs.
Learn to say no instead of yes through OA. I don't need to people please or be liked.
Tell myself I can instead of I can't. OA.
The above bullet points is a brief outline of things I am working on and know that I need to get as right as possible.
It is of course far more involved and nuanced.
My notes pictured below explain a bit more in a scruffy kind of notes way.
OA. I'm on this.